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Compare minimum coverage car insurance

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Minimum coverage gives you just enough liability insurance to get on the road.

Your state probably requires you to have liability coverage before you drive a vehicle. And if money is tight, you may want to pay as little on car insurance as possible.

One option is to buy minimum coverage, which insures you just enough to meet your state’s requirements.

What is minimum coverage car insurance?

Unless you live in New Hampshire or Virginia, you must have liability insurance to drive a car. Minimum coverage is the lowest amount of car insurance coverage you’re allowed to have. It may not cover you for all of your state’s requirements — for example, you may also need to buy uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection.

Though minimum coverage may be enough to get you on the road, consider buying a higher level of coverage. Costs from auto accidents often exceed the limits of minimum coverage, and you’ll have to pay out of your own pocket if your insurance isn’t sufficient.

Minimum coverage in action

In California, you’re required to have at least 15/30/5 liability coverage. That means you need:

  • $15,000 of coverage for bodily injury per person in an accident
  • $30,000 of coverage for bodily injury per accident
  • $5,000 of coverage for property damage per accident

Minimum coverage will insure you up to those limits. But if your car is damaged in an accident you cause, you’ll have to pay out of pocket for your car repairs and hospital bills.

Who should consider minimum coverage car insurance?

If you don’t have the means to buy more comprehensive auto insurance, minimum coverage can insure you just enough for you to get on the road.

Minimum coverage insures you against expenses for bodily injury and property damage. However, it won’t pay for expenses from other damages, such as repairs to your own car (you’ll need collision coverage for that). Keep in mind that the cheaper your car insurance, the less coverage it probably offers.

Drivers who might need minimum coverage only might find themselves in these situations:

  • Your car’s not worth much.
  • You’re planning to buy another car soon anyway.
  • You can afford to pay for damages out of pocket.
  • You can afford to go without a car if it was totaled.
  • You have great health insurance.
  • You’re on a budget or fixed income.
  • Affordable coverage
  • Instant online access
  • SR-22 support

Best liability only insurance: The General

The General offers affordable coverage for nearly any driver who needs car insurance.

  • Affordable coverage
  • High risk drivers okay
  • Instant online access
  • Available in 46 states

Compare minimum liability car insurance policies

Name Product Roadside assistance New car protection Accident forgiveness Safe driver discount Available states
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Save up to 31% with safe driver discounts and bundling all your rides in one convenient policy.
Optional
49%
AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA
Only pay for how much you drive with the Metromile app. Get rates from $29/month plus pennies per mile.
Optional
30%
All 50 states
Enjoy premium perks like better car replacement and accident forgiveness plus local agent support.
Optional
Optional
55%
All 50 states
Get free quotes from top insurers for the exact coverage you need in minutes.
13%
All 50 states
Enjoy having your own dedicated agent to help you get the best discounts and coverage.
52%
AZ, AR, CO, CT, DE, GA, IL, IN, IA, KY, LA, MD, MI, MS, MT, NE, NM, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT
Root offers simple, affordable insurance that’s ideal for good drivers. Try the Root app for 2 weeks and see how much you could save.
Optional
26%
All 50 states
It's quick and easy to get an online quote with Geico, and you might be surprised at how much you could save.
Optional
Yes
All 50 states
Drivers over 50 and AARP members enjoy special car insurance pricing and benefits.

Compare up to 4 providers

How much does minimum coverage cost?

Minimum liability car insurance is the cheapest type of policy. It can be a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000 a year. The cost of minimum coverage will vary considerably depending on your age, where you live and your driving history, among other factors.

Does it come with a deductible?

Minimum liability coverage usually doesn’t come with a deductible. For example, if you hit another car and your insurance covers the cost of the other driver’s repairs, you won’t have to pay out of your pocket.

Did you know box title in article

What is a deductible?”]

The deductible is what you’ll pay before your insurance company will pay a claim.

Let’s say you file a claim to your insurance company for a $5,000 car repair bill. Your insurance covers you for that amount, but it includes a $500 deductible. This means you must pay $500 out of your own pocket before your insurance will cover the other $4,500.

How do I buy minimum coverage?

  • Shop around to get quotes and compare insurers.
  • Start an online quote with your chosen provider.
  • Usually online quotes default to your state’s minimum insurance levels.
  • Decline any extras or higher maximums.
  • Complete your purchase and print out ID cards or wait for them to arrive in the mail.

Bottom line

Minimum coverage will get you on the road quickly. However, you may want to buy more coverage to protect yourself and meet your state minimum requirements for car insurance.

Get the cheapest quotes

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